If you have the Peacock Network, you might be familiar with a mini-series the network put out called, A Friend of the Family.

The 9-episode series is based on the true story of the Broberg family from Idaho. It revolves around a series of events involving a friend of the family, who sexually abused the eldest daughter and kidnapped her not once, but twice.

It might seem unfathomable to believe something like that could happen in our own lives, and many have questioned and criticized the family's choices. However, it is important to remember that during the 1970s, which is when the events occurred, the term pedophile was unknown by most of America.

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We've certainly come a long way over the last few decades; we now have the sexual offenders list, along with education programs that inform and educate children and adults about the dangers of those that would harm them. However, even with all of our advancements, thousands of incidents happen every day across the country.

Innocent victim of rape in white sheet

Here in Montana, it has certainly been an issue. According to Safe Home, Montana ranks 2nd in the nation for sex offenders per 100,000 residents. Montana averages 612 per 100,000. The only state with a higher average is Oregon, with 759 per 100,000.

In fact, the West has 4 states in the Top 10 when it comes to population-adjusted rates of sex offenders.

So who do we consider to be a "sex offender"? According to the US Department of Justice, there are 3 Tiers.

Tier One includes:

  • Having or receiving child pornography
  • Falsely imprisoning a minor
  • Video voyeurism of a minor
  • Traveling or facilitating others’ travel when the intent of the travel is to engage in illicit conduct
  • Transmitting information about a minor to further criminal sexual misconduct

Tier Two includes:

  • Using minors in prostitution and/or sex trafficking
  • Enticing minors to engage in criminal sexual activity
  • Engaging in a non-forced sexual act with a minor aged 16 or 17 years
  • Producing or distributing child pornography
  • Using minors in sexual performance

Tier Three Includes:

  • A non-parent kidnapping of a minor
  • Sexual contact with minors under the age of 13
  • Sexual abuse, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse of a minor, and abusive sexual contact with a minor under age 13

If you are curious about sexual offenders here in Montana, you can always go to the Department of Justice website and search your area. By the way, I did a 2-mile search from my work address and the results came back that there were 58 sexual offenders, 45 violent offenders, and 2 sexual/violent offenders.

The word HELP written on sand being washed away by wave

If you would like more information, or if you have been sexually assaulted and need someone to talk to, you can always reach out to the National Sexual Assault Hotline by either phone or text.

Credit: United States Department of Justice

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